5 Reasons to Love Working From Home // Forbes
Last week, I wrote about how much I hate being asked if I work from home. I don’t like working from home, and I usually find the question insulting, as it seems to imply that my company is so small that I could easily run it out of my house. It also feels like I’m being asked this question because I’m a woman in my early thirties with a young child, which is equally frustrating. However, as it turns out, these days companies of all sizes have home-based employees — both men and women — and there are a lot of benefits to working from a home office. Here are five reasons that working from home is appealing, especially for companies in the start-up phase.
1) Capital Conservation. Startups are like standard transmission engines — they need careful handling and lots of fuel before they can begin cruising. Your initial investment in your company can be the determining factor of whether your start-up takes off or goes bust. As they say in the start-up world, “Cash is King.”
Every penny you can save in the beginning increases your chances for success, and working from home costs much less than renting an office. Not only will you save on rent, but when you work from home you also save money on furniture, software, transportation, Internet access, phones, cleaning costs, and office supplies. Your start-up most likely grew out of your passion, so chances are that you will already have most of the supplies and tools necessary to run it at home. These small items add up to thousands of dollars a year that can go into supporting your venture instead of duplicating basics. You can put the cash you save by working from home towards producing your product or service, developing your team, and implementing your marketing strategy.
2) Flexibility. A home-based business allows you to choose the timetable and working conditions that are optimum for you and for your employees. As long as you coordinate, there is no need to work the traditional 9-5 shifts. While it is true that you may be able to train yourself to be a morning person with discipline, we all have a natural body rhythm that makes us happiest and most productive when we honor it. For every early Morning Dove, there’s a midnight oil burning Night Owl. If anecdotal evidence is worth anything, my most productive hours are from 8pm to midnight, while my husband bounds out of bed at 6am, ready to crank out his best work. Working from home allows flexibility where everyone on staff can work the hours when they feel most productive. If you need daily check-ins you can set regular meetings times in the middle of the day that will accommodate both types of workers. If you are concerned about employee productivity, set clear benchmarks you expect them to achieve. For the truly paranoid, there are also remote employee monitoring software programs you can use. However, I believe that communication and trust are key when it comes to working with a team — whether face to face or remotely.
3) Tax cuts. You’d be surprised how much home businesses can save you on taxes. The IRS offers a general home office deduction, or you can figure out the itemized deduction yourself. Measure and deduct the fraction of your work area at home from your rent, mortgage, insurance, electricity and internet costs. You can also deduct the cost of your computer and other general office expenses. Sometimes, you can even deduct your health insurance costs. Check out, Inc.com’s list of 7 tax-saving tips for your small business and Bankrate’s dozen deductions for details.